Postdocs unionize

Connecticut group seeks better pay and working conditions

Alison McCook(abmccook@yahoo.com)
Sep 4, 2003

Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Health Center in Farmington recently unionized, a move supporters hope will be imitated across the country. By a slim margin of 64 to 61, almost 150 postdocs voted August 29 to join a union representing 1900 other UConn Health Center workers.

Coorganizer of the effort, Munirathinam Subramani, a postdoctoral fellow in the UConn neuroscience department, said that the decision to unionize was not made lightly and that he and other postdocs spent years trying to negotiate with the university for acceptable standards for working conditions, including salaries, benefits, and vacation.

The National Institutes of Health recently set a minimum starting salary for a postdoctoral fellow at $34,200. However, Subramani told The Scientist that UConn postdocs can earn as little as $25,000 per year and work more than 60 hours each week.

"I have no doubt [the union] will address this and...

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